Harvard Receives $50 Million for Biomedical Research Accelerator

The gift is intended to take promising discoveries through the development stages and to the market.


A gift to Harvard will advance biomedical research. Photo via Shutterstock

The infuriating thing about biomedical research is that many exciting discoveries don’t go anywhere—they just fizzle out after the early stages of research. At least for Harvard University, that may not be the case anymore.

Harvard announced today that the university received a $50 million gift from the Blavatnik Family Foundation, an organization led by Harvard alumnus Len Blavatnik. The money is intended, according to a report from Harvard, to “expedite the development of basic science discoveries into new breakthrough therapies for patients and cures for disease” in an initiative called the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator. The Accelerator, which will build upon Harvard’s 5-year-old original Biomedical Accelerator Fund, will identify the most promising research, discoveries, and technology coming out of Harvard and help them efficiently and effectively navigate through the development stages so that they can quickly hit the market. The Harvard report quotes Blavatnik:

“By partnering with Harvard’s world-class biomedical research division, I am delighted to help accelerate the development of new therapies,” said Mr. Blavatnik. “Moreover, by increasing the collaborative efforts between Harvard Business School and Harvard’s scientific community, we will empower the next generation of life science entrepreneurs and provide a further catalyst for innovation and research development.”

The donation will also create the Blavatnik Fellowship in Life Science Entrepreneurship Program, which is aimed at promoting science entrepreneurship for the students of Harvard Business School. This interdisciplinary opportunity, Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria says in the report, will only enhance the program’s reach. He says:

“By bringing together expertise and experience from across Harvard, the Accelerator and the HBS Fellows program will further enhance Harvard’s commitment to innovative research and entrepreneurship. With student interest in entrepreneurship at an all-time high and with the resources of the University’s Innovation Lab and HBS’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship at the ready, we are well positioned to make the most of this generous gift from the Blavatnik Family Foundation.”

The Cambridge/Boston/Waltham area is already a biomedical research hub, and we think this gift could be just the right push to take it even further.